A Lesson in Holy Holla-penos!

Perhaps I’m lacking motivation.  Perhaps it’s that I got a horrible night’s sleep thanks to what we’re now referring to as “The Pepper Incident” (kinda like The Spaghetti Incident but with less big hair, not as well selling, and way less drugs-though there was that albuterol…).  Whatever the reason, my focus needs more focus today.

The Jalapeno pepper…

One of my addictions…and now, one of my foes.

The Jalapeno rates on the Scoville scale between 2500 and 8000 Scoville units which = hot.  Not insanely burn yourself stupid hot, but hot.  I eat them on everything, burgers, eggs, chili, you name it.  Sometimes I cut up a fresh one into strips and eat it with a little ranch dressing like normal people do with carrot sticks.  You could say I love spicy food.

So in an effort to be domesticy and save some cash, my mom gave me a huge batch of them from her garden that I could dry or freeze.  Yesterday afternoon, I gloved up (these were VERY hot Jalapenos) and spent a good amount of time unzipping them, seeding them, and chopping them.

I suppose this is where I should state that my husband is constantly telling me not to put seeds down the garbage disposal. I don’t know why, and obviously, I don’t listen.  I dumped all the seeds and the membranes that hold the seeds in place (which by the way, is the hottest part of the pepper-not the seeds) into the sink, and once done chopping, washed them down the sink and flipped on the garbage disposal.

For those of you who don’t watch Mythbusters or who missed the toilet flushing episode…anytime something with water that is quickly sucked downward is initiated (such as flushing a toilet or turning on a garbage disposal) there is a plume of very very fine spray that shoots up into the air.  *Insert me gagging just thinking about the toilet plume here.*

You do the math…Jalapeno seeds and membrane…garbage disposal…dumb ass me…oh yeah.  You got it.  The invisible plume shot up into the air and directly into my face…and I breathed it in!
Jalapeno peppers contain Capsicum, that is what makes them so hot.  Guess what the main ingredient in pepper spray is…you guessed it…Capsicum.
Guess what pepper spray does.  It’s an inflammatory…it causes the eyes, nose, throat and lungs to swell and can cause difficulty breathing (I can vouch for this) and even blindness.

So…I hit the garbage disposal, breathe in the home made pepper spray by accident, go into an instant coughing and sneezing fit the likes of which I have never experienced or seen in my life…and wouldn’t you know it, my throat starts to close up!  HOLY FRICK!  I have to admit, whether it be dumb luck or just my immunity to the heat, I felt no burn…but the effects of the inhalation were frightening at best and could have been life threatening at worst.  It got so bad that my husband was ready to take me to the ER.  At some point, he snickered and I vaguely remember screaming “IT’S NOT FUNNY!” at him.  (Admittedly, some hours later, I randomly laughed and announced “Ok, NOW it’s funny.”)

The ER (which I called but did not go in to) said to eat ice chips or something cold to reduce swelling and if I had any steroid inhalers to use them.  Ok well I have a fridge that doesn’t have the snobby ice chip setting on the ice maker…make that, doesn’t have an ice maker…so the Blue Moon ice cream I had been hoarding did the trick for the cold…and thanks to my Albuterol inhaler that I never need to use for my allergy induced asthma, a bottle of Afrin, and 2 Benadryl I was breathing normally (and wound up enough to run a marathon) within a short period of time.

There are a handful of lessons to be learned here.

1.  Don’t run seeds down your garbage disposal (or toilet presumably).
2.  Listen to your husband (at least sometimes)
3.  Keep Blue Moon ice cream on hand at ALL times for emergency situations.
4.  Thank God every day that I wasn’t holding my son when this happened
5.  Leave prepping peppers up to my mother from now on
6.  Buy jarred Jalapenos at the grocery
7.  Afrin and Albuterol mixed make a person jittery but can save your life…literally…opening air ways is important!
8.  It’s not funny…but uhm…it sort of IS funny
9.  Don’t underestimate the power of capsicum
10.  Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it can’t kill you

In true Abby form, this was yet another “it could only happen to me” moment.  Almost a full 24 hours later, it is admittedly a tiny bit funny.

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~ by Not Yer Bitch on October 4, 2010.

One Response to “A Lesson in Holy Holla-penos!”

  1. Ouch. Totally something I would do. Except I'm too afraid of hot peppers to even buy them jarred from a store. So it's totally something I would do if I were way more brave.

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